A few weeks ago, a small company by the name of Ledger8760 rebranded as nZero, a decision meant to demonstrate carbon management’s growing role in meeting climate change initiatives. Ledger8760 started out by tracking a client’s electricity usage, an emission which makes up roughly 65% of total global emissions, over the course of all 8,760 hours in a given year. Now known as nZero, the company has continued to expand its data tracking measurement tools to markets all across the world.
“nZero provides organizations with the best data available as it pertains to environmental impacts, so they can make the best decisions on how to reduce that impact,” said Adam Kramer, CEO of nZero. “We track major emission sources like electricity, agriculture, and travel and support companies locally, nationally, and now internationally, as we recently expanded into Europe about two months ago.”
While nZero had its founding in Reno, Nevada, it now has offices in Seattle, New York, London, and Luxembourg, as well.
“We started our business to create transparency in the energy markets for consumers, mostly large businesses,” Kramer said. “This way they can understand not just the cost of their electricity, but where their electricity was coming from and the environmental impact of using that electricity. Businesses want to decarbonize and be 100% renewably-powered, and we give them the visibility to do that.”
Kramer and his team were inspired to change the name of their organization to nZero to better demonstrate their mission and why they exist: to help organizations reach net zero – no matter the emission being tracked.
“We want [our name] to reflect our expanded focus on being able to provide the same level of detail that we did during our founding days of tracking electricity,” Kramer said. “But now we track everything from natural gas and vehicle emissions to supply chain factors. We can determine an organization’s direct emissions, which come from the actual operation of its facility to indirect emissions like employees commuting to work.”
After determining an organization’s emission sources, nZero is able to integrate those data streams automatically or semi-automatically into their system.
“For vehicle emissions, a lot of vehicles have telemetry that we can interface with to enable data to be pushed into our system for things like driven miles, idle time, and other key data statistics,” Kramer said. “We also work directly with utility providers to pull in consumption data from the utility meters, whether that’s on a daily basis, an hourly basis, or monthly basis, so we’re able to ingest that data as it’s being generated and put that into our system. This way we know when they flipped on the light switch and we can determine the carbon intensity of the electric grid in their location at that time.”
The data compiled by nZero is then converted into what’s known as its CO2e, or its carbon dioxide equivalency.
“We try to put the greenhouse gas emission data into a carbon dioxide equivalency in a metric-ton format,” Kramer said. “This enables us to determine what the emission factors are and the carbon equivalency of the client’s total emissions. We convert the data this way so it can be easily reported to global standards.”
Another output of nZero’s services is the financial aspect of a client’s energy consumption.
“We evaluate the cost of energy from natural gas and fuel because for people to make business decisions about how to reduce their environmental impact, they need to not only understand what that environmental impact is, but the cost of the underlying emission-producing source as well,” Kramer said. “When a client makes a business decision about putting solar panels on their roof or electrifying its vehicle fleet, they need to build a business case to understand both the financial cost and the environmental return on their investment.”
The reason it’s important to consider the financial aspects of the type of data tracking nZero offers, commonly referred to as carbon management, is because businesses are recognizing its growing influence and relevance in the market.
“Carbon management is almost identical to financial management, where if you’re trying to determine how to make the best decisions as an organization, you need to be measuring that data in real-time,” Kramer said. “How is any organization supposed to make a decision about reducing their environmental impact if they only look at their books once a year? Through carbon management, we’re enabling them to look at it as it’s happening.”
Kramer has found that the innovative nature of nZero’s carbon management services has served a practical purpose across industries, in both the public and private sectors.
“Our customers use the co2 to basically track emissions against either their internal goals or external goals,” Kramer said. “We have clients that are tracking against the Paris Climate Accord, others on the corporate side are tracking towards their net zero goals. A lot of public companies have declared X amount of carbon reduction by 2030 or net zero by 2040, and so we’re helping them track that.”
Therefore, nZero sees itself in a principal role for organizations looking to adapt to a changing world.
“Carbon data is the driver of decisions for this multi-trillion dollar energy transition economy as people are making decisions to transform their organizations based on the impact of climate change,” Kramer said. “This push is coming from investors, customers, employees and regulators, and [organizations] have to respond because they still have a fiduciary duty–whether they’re a public agency or a private sector customer.”
The role of data in a climate-adaptive world will only continue to grow, according to Kramer, particularly as an organizations’ stakeholders seek to hold them to account to their stated climate-related goals.
“You first have to have data to make these changes, but then you also need this data to back up the claims of what you’re doing,” Kramer said. “We are in the beginning days of this multi-trillion dollar energy transition economy in which carbon data will drive decisions that will continue to shape generations to come.”
Scott King writes about science and the environment for the Sierra Nevada Ally. He has a Master’s degree in Media Innovation from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing with a minor in Marketing from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Scott served for two years as a literacy instructor with the Peace Corps in the community of Gouyave, Grenada. Support his work.
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